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The Pros and Cons of Starlink for RV Travelers

| Updated Aug 23, 2023

Starlink for RV use has become a major source of Internet connectivity. But as good as the system is, there are pros and cons to consider before RVers should totally rely on it.

This week, we talk to two of the RV industry's most knowledgeable experts on Internet connectivity for RVers – Chris and Cherie of the Mobile Internet Resource Center.

In the interview segment of the podcast, they explain where Starlink works best and why there are still some limitations to overcome before the system is universally reliable enough to be the sole Internet source for RV nomads.

Also this week on the RV Podcast:

  • Gas and diesel prices are on the rise…again
  • Two must-have RV Tools that cost less than $20
  • Plus…Travel Tips, RV News and your questions…all coming up on Episode 461 of the RV Podcast.

You can watch the video version from our RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel by clicking the player below.

If you prefer an audio-only podcast, you can hear us through your favorite podcast app or listen now through the player below.

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Audience Feedback

Here's some feedback from the audience we received this week:

We bought our first RV this spring and looked forward to a summer of camping. That didn’t happen. Not because the RV had issues. Not because of anything on our end. There were no RV spots to book. We tried all summer long. We got in one state park in June but every other time we tried, at different state parks, the campground was all full up. We took a chance and booked a private campground a few miles outside the area we wanted to visit. It was like camping in the ghetto. Sorry. No thanks. We now regret buying an RV. – David

We’ve had a great summer camping. We used Harvest Hosts, COE campgrounds and did some awesome boondocking. We love listening to your podcast as we drive. This is our first year as campers. We’re ready for a busy fall season now. – CiCi 

Thanks for your tip on mobile techs. We’ve used them twice this summer. Easy one day fixes. I tried taking the RV back to our dealer but they had no openings for weeks. The mobile techs came to us, one the same day I called, one the next morning. Your advice saved our summer camping – Lucas

SOCIAL MEDIA BUZZ – Wendy Bowyer

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Wendy Bowyer reports on the hot issues most talked about this past week on our RV Lifestyle Facebook Group:

Something I'd like to share with you this week – at the risk of sounding maybe a little corny – are some examples of how the RVLifestyle Facebook Group not only shares tips and suggestions, but really cares for one another.

Amanda, who is from Phoenix, wrote that she was in southern California for a Saturday wedding, and Hurricane /Tropical Storm Hilary was on its way. She was in an RV park, watching the weather and getting nervous. Her family planned to leave Monday and asked the group for advice.

Many jumped in and their overwhelming advice was to get out as soon as possible. 

Some who had experienced tropical storms told her an RV was the last place she wanted to be.

Others from southern California told her about the best roads out.

So Amanda took their advice and left Saturday immediately after the wedding.

People expressed real concern for her, and asked her to keep them updated. And she did. She overnighted at a Cracker Barrel on the way home, and made it back to  Phoenix safely before the storm hit – a happy ending.

The community also really came together to help Donna.

Donna and her husband bought their first ever Class A, drove it from the dealership to their home, put down the stabilizers and …. the stabilizers broke!

She shared this story, posted pictures of the bent stabilizers and she said: “We ruined it 10 minutes after getting home!”

What I LOVED about this post, is not only did people try to encourage her and tell her it was going to be ok, but some took a look at those pictures, said this is not right. One person, Derrick, alerted Donna that there was a recall on those stabilizers in her rig. And sure enough, he was right!

Donna called the dealership, the dealership confirmed the recall, and the last update Donna posted was that the dealership was coming out to her house to replace those stabilizers for free! Shout out to Derrick!

Then finally, a post that is quickly approaching 500 responses is from Daryl. Daryl was completely overwhelmed trying to plan his first trip. He was about to purchase an RV, was trying to plan some trips, but felt paralyzed. He didn't want a resort-style park, he was looking for a nature experience. But he wanted to stay in that sweet 70-degree weather route, he would like to try some boondocking and he had to consider the size of his rig when booking spots. Bottom line: It felt overwhelming.

The group came to the rescue, sharing how they did it.

Some shared a screenshot of the camping apps on their phones, so Daryl could see what they use.

Others shared how they start with a paper atlas, looking at the area they wish to visit first.

Many recommended starting with state parks or county parks. 

I thought of our RVLifestyle 7 Day Adventure Guides which suggest roads to take, campgrounds to stay in and things to see and do.

Many urged him not to overthink it and to just start small and have fun.

So much good advice!

Interview of the Week – The Pros and Cons of Starlink for RV Travelers

One of the most common questions we get from our audience concerns questions about the best way to access the Internet while RVing. From Starlink to other options, more and more RVers need a reliable internet connection while on the road, either for work or to stay in contact with friends and families. 

To help us better understand the pros and cons and ins and outs of the many options we have on our show today Chris Dunphy and Cherie ve Ard of the Mobile Internet Resource Center.

In the interview, the pair discuss:

  • Where Starlink works best and where it is less reliable.
  • Why a cellular plan and equipment make sense as a backup for Starlink
  • The different pricing levels and equipment costs
  • What level of service is best for RVers
  • The proprietary equipment hassles of the Starlink gear
  • What “deprioritized” service means
  • Improvements in the near future that will increase reliability

Be sure to watch or listen to the episode for some very practical tips about Starlink.

Next week, Chris and Cherie will be back to discuss the many different other ways RVers can stay connected on the road.

RV NEWS OF THE WEEK 

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Gas prices on the rise again nationally, weather to blame

Many of us are feeling the sting of gas prices remaining stubbornly high – and rising – in many places. According to AAA, the weather has a lot to do with it.

Sky high temperatures in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas means refineries can't run normally because it is too hot, causing them to curb production. And hurricane season is just around the corner, which could affect production, too.

The result? Prices are rising.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline as of this writing is $3.869 nationally. 

In Illinois, Hawaii, Alaska and the Western states, the average price of a gallon of gasoline is $5.235 to $4.117 according to AAA. States with the lowest prices, generally in the South, are averaging $3.603 to $3.328 per gallon. 

For our story on price discount programs for gasoline and diesel, click here.

Careless crowds trample wildflowers and trash Mt. Rainier National Park

The National Park Service at Washington's Mt. Rainer National Park says careless crowds trampled on wildflowers and left mounds of trash in their attempt to view the annual Perseid Meteor Show last week..

Visitors went off trail and into delicate meadows, placing blankets and chairs on blooming wildflowers so they could gaze up.

But in doing they damaged these delicate flowers. 

Many of these fragile alpine plants have only a few weeks to grow and produce seed. Officials predict it will take decades for the landscape to recover from the damage.

RV INDUSTRY NEWS WITH RICK KESSLER

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For the latest in RV and Camping Industry news, we’re joined by Rick Kessler, executive editor of the industry leading publications  RVBusiness and Woodall’s Campground Magazines

Let’s start with Airstream, which hosted its annual dealer meeting this week. One of the things they do during the meeting is show off the new model year lineup, and I wish I could share what Airstream has in store for 2024.

We were all sworn to secrecy, though.

The good news is Airstream will launch their new products on Sept. 12 – which is just in time for the Hershey RV Show that opens the very next day.

Speaking of the Hershey RV Show – which actually is known as America’s Largest RV Show – we just spoke with Heather Leach, the show’s organizer, who says this year’s show is coming along nicely.

The show will feature some 1,500 RVs on display on the grounds of the Giant Center in Hershey Pennsylvania, plus 200-some exhibitors, including RV parks and campgrounds and all sorts of RV parts and accessories.

Tickets are available now at largestrvshow.com.

And lastly, KOA reports that more campers intend to camp over the Labor Day weekend this year compared to last year.

In fact, they say 75% of campers have already made plans for the holiday weekend – and my guess is if you don’t have reservations by now, you’ll be hard-pressed to get some.

That’s the news from the industry; we’ll see you next week.

RV Tip of the Week from Brenda of Queen Bee RV

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Time now for the RV Tip of the week from certified RV Inspector Brenda of Queen Bee RV

Brenda’s focus is on educating RVers on how to care for their RVs – especially women RVers – and she is a regular contributor to the podcast, sharing her expertise with our entire audience.

Here’s Brenda.. The RV Queen Bee… with this week’s RV Tip.

Two Must-Have RV Tools that cost less than $20

With such limited space we have in the RV, how do you decide what are the most effective tools to keep in the toolbox?  When we first get started in RVing, we don’t really know what we will actually need or will utilize and sometimes we tend to overpack!  This week, I will share my top two favorite tools to have on hand when it comes to troubleshooting and repair issues.

The multi-screw driver is an RV essential such as a 9-in-1 or and 11-in-1.  RVers can find these on Amazon ranging from $10-$15.  They come with a variety of bits like the Phillips and flat head, square head and various nut drivers.  This tool comes in handy when performing tasks such as removing a false wall to access the water pump for either troubleshooting or winterizing.  I also use it remove my overhead air conditioner plenum cover on the interior of the RV so that I can keep an eye on that divider dam that sometimes becomes loose and allows supply and return air to intermingle which greatly decreases cooling efficiency.  The list of uses for this tool is endless.

The other must-have tool that I never leave home without is my multimeter.  The prices for multimeters is a wide range starting at $20 for super simple models all the way into the hundreds for higher quality models with precise accuracy.  Learning how to use a multimeter in the RV will save you money and time when it comes to troubleshooting.

You can begin to get some good practice by testing the health status of your 12Volt DC coach batteries.  Set the multimeter to Volts DC on the dial, then place the metal tips of your meter probes on the terminals of the battery – one on the positive and one on the negative.  Then, you can do an Internet search to learn what the full charge status of your particular battery should read and also what the discharge rates look like.

You can also run this same test, with a small twist, to check the integrity of your converter charger.  With the RV plugged into shore power, perform the same test at the coach battery and the reading should be at least 1/2 Volt higher.

One other simple and fun practice test for getting used to using the multimeter is to perform a continuity test on your 12Volt DC fuses to make sure they are not blown.  First, set the multimeter to continuity on the dial.  Next, simply remove the fuse in question from the fuse panel and touch the probes of your meter on the metal blades of the fuse.  Listen for the audible alert to indicate that the fuse does have continuity and is not blown.

Both of these tools take up little room in your tool belt and will provide so many uses that are imperative when it comes to troubleshooting and staying on top of RV maintenance.

RV QUESTION OF THE WEEK

QUESTION: We have decided to become snowbirds and will set out for Florida right after Halloween and stay until April or May. We want to stay right on the beach in our 24 foot travel trailer. Where would you recommend? – Lexie and Bryce

ANSWER: I don't want to seem critical, but if you think you can find seasonal beach rental spots on Florida this year, you are about a year too late. There really are not that many beachfront RV spots. Those that are cost $100 and upwards a night and up and most book up a year or so in advance. This late, it will be even hard to find nice seasonal spots inland. But that’s not saying there are none. There are always cancellations. But you need to get online and on the phone right now. You can check out our blog for our recommended Florida RV spots and our Florida RV travel guides and get a list of lots of great Florida RV campgrounds. 

Mike and Jennifer's Favorite Places in Florida – all 3 ebooks!

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We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.

Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter. 

That's why we've created three guides, covering Florida's Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys. 

Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.

Altogether these guides are over 300 pages of content! 


Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-08-23

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

4 Responses to “The Pros and Cons of Starlink for RV Travelers”

August 23, 2023at8:06 pm, Gary Ray said:

Just got back from three months in Mexico and a month in the US getting there and back. Starlink was essential in Mexico. 5G service was available in most of our US campgrounds. If you find cellular doesn’t exist in your region, such as our current Harvest Hosts farm, then Starlink is the answer. Of course, you have to decide if $150/month is worth it for you. If you’re working on the road, it’s the obvious choice.

Reply

August 26, 2023at8:25 am, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for the feedback, Gary! Team RV Lifestyle

Reply

August 23, 2023at10:34 am, roy saxton said:

I don’t watch podcasts, just not interested. i do read articles so If you want me to continue to ready your site you will need write them out… sorry….

Reply

August 23, 2023at12:36 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Hi Roy – Thanks for the feedback on what you prefer — Mike does have stories on his blog every day, and he puts the podcast on there, too, but as as you know does not transcribe every section of the podcast for the blog. We know not everyone likes to listen to podcasts, but many do. And again, most of his articles are written and on the blog – so lots of material there to digest. Thanks again for sharing your preferences – Team RV Lifestyle

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